OHS Canada Magazine


“I’m sorry I shot you”: La Loche shooter apologizes at hearing

Teen killed teacher, injured substitute in Jan. 2016 shooting

MEADOW LAKE, Sask. (The Canadian Press) — A teenager who killed four people and injured seven others in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche has apologized to his victims, saying he didn’t know what he was thinking when he pulled the trigger.

People wept as the teen addressed each of his victims at his sentencing hearing, which will determine if he will be sentenced as an adult or a youth.

The teen told substitute teacher Charlene Klyne, who lost her sight in the shooting, he was sorry for ruining her life that day in January 2016.

He tearfully said if he could talk to teacher Adam Wood, who died from his injuries, he would tell him he was sorry and that Wood was not a target.

The teen said the same about teacher’s aide Marie Janvier, who also died, and apologized to her mother for taking her daughter away.

He pleaded guilty last fall to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

The teen — who cannot be named because he was just shy of his 18th birthday when the shooting occurred — killed brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine in a home in January 2016 before shooting up the high school where Wood and Janvier died.

He told court he knows the boys’ mother forgives him.

“I know she knows I am sorry for what I did.”

The sentencing hearing has heard two weeks of testimony, including from the teen’s victims, who want him to be sentenced as an adult.

The court is still waiting for a Gladue report, which examines an aboriginal offender’s background for the judge to use in making a sentencing decision. Then final submissions need to be made from the lawyers.

On Thursday, a psychiatrist testifying for the defence said the teen has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks, which have led to suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Mansfield Mela testified in court that the flashbacks were “quite incapacitating” for the teen, who needed medication because “he couldn’t sleep from the images.

“He was becoming more hopeless, and the images were quite distressing to him,” Mela said.

Mela also said the teen has an intellectual disability, major depressive disorder and displays signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Court also heard this week from child psychiatrist Dr. Declan Quinn, who testified for the Crown, and said the teen “did not come across as being clearly developmentally delayed or slow.”

During the first week of the sentencing hearing, which was held in May, an agreed statement of facts detailed the shooter’s murderous path from a home in La Loche to the community’s high school.

The Fontaine brothers, who had just played video games with the killer the night before, were gunned down first.

Dayne, 17, pleaded for his life and said, “I don’t want to die,” before he was shot 11 times, including twice in the head. Drayden, 13, was shot twice.

The shooter then posted messages online: “Just killed 2 ppl,” and “Bout to shoot ip the school.”

Surveillance footage captured his frightening walk through the halls, his shotgun raised, as students and staff ran in fear. Wood managed to call 9-1-1 before being shot in the torso and then once again while on the ground. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

Janvier was shot when she ran to get help for Klyne, who was wounded when the shooter fired through the window of a classroom door.

When police arrived, the shooter ran into a women’s washroom where he put down his weapon and gave himself up.

Court heard that the teen told a case worker at the youth detention centre, where he has been held since shortly after the January 2016 shooting, that he wished he had killed himself.

Copyright (c) 2017 The Canadian Press